Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday's Gem - Carnelian

Good Morning Friends.  It is  wonderful to be back; I had my first day off in 16 yesterday and it felt so good to drive freely on 41 up towards Yosemite.  I love that drive, the landscape goes from palms and vineyards to old west.  Piles of massive boulders decorate the lonely rolling hills and in the background there are the massive sierra mountains.  The terrain begins to get rougher and you start to see ranches here and there with white horses lazily grazing on the wild grasses.  If you have a good imagination and can ignore the other cars you could maybe picture a cowboy rolling up on his horse overlooking the ranch from a nearby cliff.  Too cool if you ever get a chance it is well worth the trip.
These stones are a wonderful example of the Carnelians Botryoidal shape and the waxy luster that makes it so desirable.  These beautiful specimens can be purchased from
FeatherBear3 at

Anyway, I am happy to be back and to have the satisfaction of completing my portion of a project for my company and now it is time for Saturday's Gem; Carnelian.  Carnelian is a beautiful semi-precious gem that comes in a variety of red to warm brown hues.  The darker browns are known as Sardonyx but there is not a sharp distinction between the two gems, so I am going to put them together.

Carnelian is a categorized with chalcedony which is a microcrystalline quartz which simply means that the make up is of tiny crystals giving it a more soft look rather than the sharp look of crystal quartz.  Where crystal quartz (macrocrystalline) will create distinct and sometimes large crystal points (i.e. Amethyst,) a microcrystalline such as Carnelian will form more of a massive or globular shaped gem stone.  Another way to distinguish Carnelian from other quartz is its "waxy" luster versus a sharp crystal sparkle.  Often the coloration is in bands of brown and when it is broken it has an uneven fracture. 
This gorgeous necklace shows a perfect example of the banding found in the Carnelian stone.  The necklace can be purchased from ETSY shop CC Stiel at
they have many fine pieces of jewelry so please stop by.
Carnelian has been worn for centuries and throughout ancient times and has be regarded as a gem to protect the wearer from dangers and harmful influences.  Ancient Egyptians would often adorn their deceased with this gem to protect the dead from harm.  Today it is still thought to have protective energies and it is suggested that a person wearing Carnelian is more composed, calm, and confident.  Of course you should never use any natural healing or energy stones in the place of seeking medical advice from your physician.  The information in this blog is based on traditions not sound science.

One of my favorite pieces that are created with the Carnelian stones are cameos.  Not all cameos have the striking white picture with a dark background, these are often made from other semi-precious gems (such as agate and onyx) and shells.  But the Carnelian cameos have a very delicate subtlety to them and while the carved images may not jump out at you as do the others they are equally beautiful.  Some Carnelian cameos may have a stronger contrast it just depends on the stone that was carved. 
This exquisite pendant is a perfect example of the subtlety that I was mentioned above.  This beautiful vintage piece can be purchased from City Details at
Cameos made from gems (including Carnelian,) minerals, and shells that have "bands" of varying colors.  The artist will select the piece based on the natural potential for a beautiful carving.  The will then cut the piece accordingly and carve through the layers giving the cameo its distinct appearance of two different stones or having been painted.  Over the years people have cheated and made cameos by using different methods (such as overlaying one piece on top of another) but a true cameo is carved from one solid piece and is not painted.
This Gorgeous ring is a perfect example of how the artist chose the stone for its layers and the potential for a striking and contrasting piece.  The white layer is carved back to expose the colorful Carnelian.  You can purchase this amazing Antique piece from Art4U2Buy at

Here are some of the ETSY treasures I found using this wonderful stone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On The Road Again

So I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for another business trip.  This time for 2 weeks.  I am hoping I will have some time to blog but if I don't I sincerely apologize ahead of time.  I am also hoping to get some pictures this time to share with everyone.  I have never been to Indianapolis (been to Indiana) so this should be a great experience.  Working with the same great group of people so I am looking forward to working hard but enjoying who I am working with.

Until I can get back to the key board...Don't forget me:)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Totally Postcard Tuesday - An Odd Pair

I would love to invite my readers to view my new facebook page at  I would also ask that they visit and vote for my FB front page so I can Win the Pin It To Win It Challenge.  I would be very very greatful for your support and if you could spread the word to your friends and followers too that would be absolutely wonderfu.  Thanks Friends!

The two postcards I have to show today seem to have a very odd subject matter; Anatomy.  They are based off of Rembrandt's painting,  Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp of 1632.  The painting was done in manner to invoke a sense of drama to the viewer, it was not just for documentary purposes.  Obviously since there were postcards made from the very painting dating in the early 1900's people did find this painting to be just that, dramatic. 

Coming from a science background and with some knowledge of just how autopsies were preformed in that day I don't find it to be completely disturbing.  But with that being said I could not imagine having a print of this hanging in my living room.  The intrigue with this painting has not died down even to this day; upon doing some research I found several Ipod skins, laptop covers, mouse pads, book marks and more using this very image.

The amazing thing to me is not only did I find these great and unique vintage postcards but I found a vintage book on Rembrandt that has the very painting in among the pages.  It was wonderful chance happening that has become useful in identifying the cards since I am not very fluent in art. 

Here is the image from the book:

Here is the book if you are interested:

And now the Odd Pair:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Meet and Greet the Members of the Pacific Postcards Team - CalicoCollage

Today's team member has a shop that features items quite different from the last few team members I featured.  I am happy to introduce Ella Bouchard, Calico Collage at  Ella's shop has a very large selection of digital printables that make it fun for any crafter, craft business or do-it-yourselfer.

While the Pacific Postcards Team (PPT) is all about creating and collecting postcards we do include the awesome artists that utilize the beautiful images from vintage postcards.  PPT includes these shops because like those of us that collect the actual physical postcards they are on the same treasure hunt looking for those special images for their collection.   Most of us the have collected postcards also dream of the what we could do with those whimsical images if we could just capture them and now that we live in a digital age we can fulfill that dream.
Calico Collage currently has 719 item for you to browse through.  The images range in sizes from small, scrabble size, .75 x .83 inches to 4 inches and larger.  Ella's images are all high quality 300 dpi JPG files that are ready to print.
More about Ella from her profile page:

My name is Ella. I have been doing graphic design & 3d Art for over 9 years and still going!
I am a mother of 2 sons & a proud Army wife of 10 years.
Find me here:

Joined October 4, 2008

Favorite materials

Computer, Photoshop, Poser  ~Ella Bouchard

If you love browsing through postcards you will love browsing through Ella's images.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spiritual and Inspirational Sunday - March 11, 2012

I hope everyone is doing well today.  I have an inspirational quote with a photo I took at the Botanical Gardens in Chicago; I hope you enjoy!

Here are this weeks lovely treasuries featuring either PostcardsInTheAttic or ButterflyInTheAttic:

And last but not least, a BNS hosted by the SFGC Team that is still open if you would like to join in the fun:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Facebook! Its Giving New Life To MY Business World!

Over the last year there has been so many new things that I have tried to increase my shop sales.  One of which is this blog.  I love blogging with everyone but unfortunately it is time consuming.  Just like many of the women in the US I also have to carry a "day job" and in reality that is the job that puts food on the table.  My business is still in phase one that many would call ... A dream.

With that being said I have spread myself so thin that I find very little time to even do daily shopping.  I have also noticed that the things I do to help bring people to my business is taking up more time than actually building the store itself.  So what I may end up with is empty shops and great blog with loyal followers.   Since my shop is online you will have to use your immagination to see the cobwebs in the corners and the empty shelves.

So this brings me to Facebook.  With some advice from some marketing people, one of which is Susan Hand from Easy Fan Pages for Direct Sellers, I have decided to focus more time on building my Facebook pages and less time on my blog and other social media.  I appologize to my readers and would love to express my heart felt gratitude to those that have been loyal followers.  But again my issue seems to be that I have no spare time and I often find myself short changing things to keep up.

With all of the new features that Facebook is offering they may be able to house everything that I do in one spot.  There new features are beautiful and eye catching so while I am headed off next week to another fun adventure filled business trip I will be focussing most of my time on building the pages.  I will keep everyone posted when I am up and running and I really really hope that you will follow me over there.  I do believe that this may be a really great forum to discuss postcards and my love for... well basically anything pretty and shiny:)

March 30th is the deadline so I should be up running by then and if not sooner.  Until then Have a beautiful and blessed day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wandering Wednesday - Saint Augustine Florida

St.Augustine Florida is a popular tourist town that many people will excitedly exclaim "oh I've been there, I love that place" if brought up in conversation.  It has a very very rich Spanish history and the buildings to prove it.  I absolutely love St. Augustine but for a more personal reason.

In 2002 my daughter, Ashley, turned 13 years old but before that, since about 8 years old, she would have hundreds of drop seizures every day; all day and all night.  While drop seizures are not as well know as grand mall seizures I honestly think that hers were more disruptive because it had caused at least an ER visit every week with something needing to get stitched up.  Unfortunately for her she spent a lot of time in wheel chairs and scooting around to get things so that she wouldn't fall down and get severely injured.  If you can imagine how hard it was to see her want to walk, run and play like any normal kid and she had the ability to do so, but she simply could not because no sooner than she got up she would collapse to the ground.

 During those tough years I almost lost her on 4 different occasions because, for whatever reason, she would have a few episodes of seizures that would cause her to completely stop being able to take in a breath.  First responders would have to bag her and I would watch helplessly while she was being rescued.  Just like many people, our family was going through a time where we had a lot of stress.  I could go on to many details of the struggles but it is much too long of a story.
Wally and Ashley (before Ashley started to have drop seizures)
 What was special about 2002 was that after trying special diets, every medication combination under the sun and all kinds of other treatments she was going to have brain surgery, a complete corpus callosotomy.  I was terrified that if we didn't do it she would have no quality of life and may die and if we did do it she may have no quality of life and may die.  Fun times.  So in light of never having had taken a real family trip during my poor children's entire life and this may be my last chance, I decided to take them to Disney World and on the way a stop in Saint Augustine.  I had no money but when a mother is feeling the way I did you find a way to make things happen and with her neurologist's blessing we were on our way. 
Ashley's 13th Birthday
 I had never been to Florida or really too far out of the Midwest so this was exciting but scary to take Ashley so far away from the security of home and doctors.  At this point she was in the wheel chair 90% of the time, so we made special little trailer for it and strapped it on to the back of our Green '99 Mercury Mystique that Ashley named Green Eggs and Ham. We were completely packed in with a weeks worth of supplies and we hit I90 ready for our 1700 mile trip.  Just outside of Maustin Wisconsin I heard my son, Wally, say "Are we there yet?"  I knew it was going to be a long ride.

After a long ride we finally made it to St. Augustine and found our hotel on the beach.  It was the first time that I had seen the ocean this was such a moving moment for me.  I had always dreamed of travelling, especially to the ocean shores, and for a long time it looked like I was never going to get a chance to.  As I brought the kids out to the beach for the first time I noticed that I had not planned for off roading with Ashley's wheel chair.  No matter how hard I tried I could not maneuver her chair through the sand.  So I took a deep breath, folded it up and put it along side the rail.  Then taking Ashley's hand we ventured out to the water's edge and she fell.  But to my surprise she did not get hurt and there was no blood or no broken stitches from the last injury, she just looked shocked and got up. 

The sand was soft enough that she wouldn't get so banged up if she did fall.  It was the first time in years where Ashley could actually play like a normal kid and I didn't have to feel like I was a cat ready to spring in action at any sign of falling.  The entire time that we were on the beach Ashley was free.  Her brother and her spent many hours jumping waves and discovering treasures along the shore.  When it came time to leave St Augustine they begged to stay longer.  Needless to say once we arrived in Disney World they were very happy we left but that moment of peace in Saint Augustine will always be a treasured memory.
Ashley and Wally (Ashley standing safely on her own with her brother was a special occassion)
 It is amazing to look back and see all of the miracles that God provided for us over the years and during our trip He certainly gave us many. Ashley had very few seizures and the ones she did have were more manageable then normal.  It was a trip that will always out shine any other trip in my life.  Ashley had the surgery succesfully reducing her seizures significantly so that she could leave her wheel chair behind.  She has good days and bad days where she may need to use one for power shopping through a store, but over all life is much better for her.  Ashley is grown up and happily lives with other adults with special needs.  Wally is also an adult and has was just married to a beautiful Utah girl. 

Not only did God give me and my children the strength to get through a very tough time He gave us great beauty and happiness amid the stress and tourmoil.  One of those blessings was found on the shores of Saint Augustine.
Disney World Heals All Broken Hearts!

It was nice to see them smile and to be able to act like kids

Ashley's High School Graduation

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Totally Postcard Tuesday - Blind Embossed - Heavily Embossed

In the early 20th century competition in the world of postcard printing was fierce.  There were new and old techniques that could do amazing things with paper all fighting to catch the eye of the potential buyer.  You could find postcards that would depict amazing world events to postcards that told a tall tale with giant vegetables and fish.  You could also find postcards that were embellished with feathers, glitter and charms.  But one kind of novelty card seemed simple but really was a little bit more daunting to make than people realized and that was the embossed postcard.

While all there seemed to be to embossing a card was to raise up the paper it had several things that could make it a challenge.  Printing techniques were advancing but there were no means to avoid having to use an actual press to apply the image so most of the embossing was done after the card was printed.  After the image was applied the card was lined up, often using pins, and put through another press that had male and female plates to mold the card.  This process was common and used for many types of scenes and images.

However there are cards that have been "heavily embossed" or "blind embossed" which almost look as if they were made out of paper mache.  These cards have not been printed because the printers found that once they applied the pressure and heat necessary to make such a deep embossment, the ink would crack and be ruined.  They also found that painting the cards by hand didn't work because the paper would become soft and the embossing would then be damaged.  So most cards that are heavily embossed are air brushed.  A number of years ago I mistakenly thought that airbrushing was a fairly modern technique but it turns out that it has been used since the late 1800's. 

These heavily embossed cards are so pretty and soft looking because of the airbrushed technique.  One other feature with many of these cards is it that they are mounted on another piece of paper or cardboard so that they could be written on.  The deep impressions on the other side would be a challenge for the correspondent so they simply glued it to another layer. 

Often the heavily embossed cards were damaged during storage and use making them a little bit more of a challenge to find.  It is best to store the cards in an archival quality sleeve and keep them in acid free containers resting on their side so as not to squish the embossed image.

Here are some examples found in Postcards In The Attic:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Meet and Greet the Members of the Pacific Postcards Team - Spoonfed Vintage by Muymono

Today's teammember is located in Spain with a wonderful shop named Spoonfed Vintage handpicked by Muymono, but can be searched by simply Muymono.
Muymono's shop not only carries a lovely assortment of postcards but also has a mixture of other beautiful and rare vintage items.  Even more lovelier is that if you are shopping in the US or anywhere else (aside from Spain) these handpicked items will most likely be one of a kind.  By shopping Muymono's we get a chance to visit a little piece of Spain's history, I find that very exciting.

Since one of the very few requirements in belonging to the Pacific Postcards Team is to have 25% of your shop designated to postcards I will be focusing on Muymono's beautiful selection of cards.  Many of her postcards feature beautiful soft images of women and children, such as this one:
She has others that feature scenes depicting everyday life of an Edwardian family and some extremely cute kittens (you all know how much I love cats.)  Here are a some of my favorites from the collection:

I absolutely love her fun profile!  I can just imagine her skipping class to look for antiques, sounds like something I would have done.
Muynono's profile -
Born collector and vintage enthusiast!

Since my student days in vibrant Glasgow, I developed a passion for the vintage and the antique and for the worn and the wretched items of yesteryear.

I visited more vintage shops than classrooms but graduated with a Masters in History of Art. Currently a freelance designer, I have recently decided to move abroad and have to part with a large part of my treasured collection, there is simply no container big enough to transport my decades of antique and vintage finds!

I source my items from vintage fairs, estate sales, markets and elder relatives and their buddies. I have carefully chosen contacts in France and Germany that provide me with authentic vintage lace, millinery and other special items.

I live in Picasso's birthplace, Malaga - in sunny Andalucia, where I have dedicated pet-free studio and etsy treasure trove. I share my home with my man and my two cats- 13 year old Cola and her nemesis 1 year old Uno, my little Singapura boy. ~Muynono

Thank you Muynono for being a part of the Pacific Postcards Team. 

If you are interested in joining the Pacific Postcards Team please go to: click on "Join Team"  Fill out the simple application and we will respond quickly, I promise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Linda B's Blog: Pinterest - Don't Pin Me Please

Thank you Linda and Christie Cottage for bringing this issue about Pinterest to my attention. As an addict I wanted to just go about using Pinterest and have a Live and Let Live attitude about it but obviously this is our businesses that we have to protect. Since Pinterest has left things too open I will also not be using it. I pinned my last pin this morning and will be deleting my "pin" button to resist the temptation to pin more until they have resolved these issues. I am going to leave my account up for the time being in the hopes that they will fix the problem and I can feel comfortable using my beloved "Pin" button again.  For more information please read:
Linda B's Blog: Pinterest - Don't Pin Me Please

Spiritual and Inspirational Sunday - March 4, 2012

Not all spiritual moments happen within a church building or while reading a Christian book.  Many of my spriritual moments happen when I am hiking or exploring what amazing wonders our Lord has created.  There are even things that I see on TV that gives me an overwhelming feeling to get up and go explore, to see things for myself and to do something grand.

One of those moving moments was when I seen the crystal formations of Mexico's Naica Crystal Cave.  I, still to this day, cannot believe that they really exist, but I have watched a few documentaries on them and read several articles so they are real.  While I may never be able to see this miracle first hand it is so exciting just to know that this exists in our world.

There is a series of 5 of these clips on YouTube and here are a few more links to information on the caves.

Isn't God amazing?
Have a blessed Sunday

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday's Gem - Feldspar

Feldspar is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of gems and minerals but wonderful pieces of jewelry can and have been made from it.  Feldspar is a very common mineral that makes up more than 60% of the Earth's upper crust.   The group of minerals that Feldspar is categorized with have a high content, over 65%, of silicate material.  Just like most minerals there are large variances within the group that lends to a variety of colors and transparencies which in turn will determine if the piece will work well in jewelry making or not.

Since Feldspar is such a common part of the earth's crust it is not surprising that it is most often associated as a component in granite. So often it can be dismissed as just a rock, but when found in  massive columnar, prismatic or tabular crystals Feldspar can be quite striking. These pieces are what make for great jewelry and depending on what other minerals were available during its creation the colors can vary quite a bit; Orthoclase is often found in white to a pinkish color, Microline can be a yellowish color and Amazonite is a beautiful green.  These crystals are also what attracts gem and mineral enthusiasts, like myself, to Feldspar.
This piece is from my personal collection showing some great columnar crystals.
The nice thing about Feldspar being so common is that the pieces of jewelry made from it are fairly inexpensive but still very beautiful.  Basically most of the cost is how much time it took to make the piece not the material itself.  There are many artist that can turn this common stone into a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Here are some examples of lovely jewelry pieces, beads and specimens found on Etsy:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Freaky Funny Friday - TGIF Let's Just Have Fun! - March 2, 2012

Another Friday!! TGIF for what ever reason I have been exhausted this week and I am so glad to be going down hill towards the weekend. 

I found an little YouTube video this morning that would fit into my "What In The World" category for today.  Apparently this artist is painting people's discarded gum that is squished onto the sidewalk.  I wonder if it gets to the point where he has already painted all the good gum in London will he start secretly strategically dropping pieces himself so he has more medium? LOL!

I hope you have a wonderful Friday!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Aromatherapy Thursday - Bee Balm - Wild Bergamot

When I lived in the Midwest I had a giant herb garden, approximately  50 feet wide by 70 feet long and in the shape of a tear drop (I was feeling creative at the time.)  It was trimmed with salvaged red bricks and along side this lush patch ran a path of small bricks that was also salvaged.  My herb garden was filled with so many amazing treasures and one of those was Bee Balm.

Just a small part of my garden in Wisconsin
I loved the Bee Balm because it was part of the mint family making it easier to grow than to contain.  One thing about mints is that if you do not keep them in a confined area they will completely take over your spaces (including the grass.)  Bee Balm is a wonderful plant it has many properties, it makes a lovely tea, and the plant itself is extremely pleasing to the eye.  Deep mint green leaves whirl up it stalk and at the end a blast of fire red flowers that look like exploding fireworks; simply beautiful!   Butterflys and humming birds are especially attracted these lovely blossoms making it an added bonus for planting them.
This beautiful Giclee Print of Scott Hamber's original art work  can be found in Etsy shop
Trillium Studios at
Bee Balm also has other relatives and I stumbled upon one accidentally on a hike through my home land in Wisconsin.  At times I would get so frustrated with the short Wisconsin growing season and I often felt a little short changed, at least until something like my discovery of Wild Bergamot then I would feel in good gardener spirits again.  On this walk I noticed a plant that resembled a member of the mint family that donned a familiar tuft of flowers but in purple.  I took some home and it was only a matter of minutes that I was able to confirm that it was indeed Wild Bergamot.  Of course shortly after that I transplanted some from the hills on our property to my garden and it, like it kin, took off into a lovely little patch.
You can purchase seeds for the Wild Bergamot from Etsy shop Nature Maid Treasures at
Bee Balm's fuzzy leaves are often used in tea.  Other people have described the flavor as being similar to oregano but I found it to be a little bit more on the order of other mints.  The tea is reported to aid in digestion; helping in a range of mild irritations such as flatulence and indigestion.  As with most things it is more up to the individual whether this truly works to relieve any of those symptoms.

Topically it has been used to help relieve things such as fungal infections and athlete's foot.  The Wild Bergamot had been used by Native Americans to treat wounds and for many other medicinal purposes.
This lovely handmade soap can be found in Etsy shop Goodies By Heather at
I love lip balm and this wonderful selection can be found in Etsy shop Heavenly Honey Farm at
Bee Balm is another member of the mint family that can stimulate the senses when used in aromatherapy.  The essential oil comes from the flower head giving it a sweet citrusy floral scent.   It helps combat fatigue (which is always a good thing for me) along with having a calming affect.  The aroma is uplifting and can help you in those tense and stressful moments. 

As with all herbal, natural and aromatherapy products, Bee Balm should never be used in place of medical treatment or a visit to your doctors office for treatment.  Always consult your physician prior to use of any homeopathic or natural remedy.  Note always be aware and check for allergies prior to use of any new products.